Take-out Fake-out

Panko Crusted Sushi: The Alaska Roll

by Shawnda on January 4, 2010

in DIY,Seafood,Take-out Fake-out

Panko-Crusted Alaska Roll

One of our favorite splurge meals is sushi. I like to make it at home but I love going out for sushi. And while I love the variety of the restaurant-specific interpretation of sushi rolls, I’m completely content with an ice cold platter of mini-slabs of fresh fish in front of me. The Foodie Groom? He lives for his Alaska Roll.

The Alaska Roll at the sushi place that we frequent is fresh salmon and avocado rolled inside-out style and fried, crusted in panko. That’s enough to make a person swoon already but they don’t stop there. They top the sliced rolls with eel sauce and a fresh jalapeno slice… and if you’re feeling really adventurous, it’s topped with the tiniest dab of Sriracha by request.

Panko-Crusted Alaska Roll

If you’re going to make sushi at home, you’ll need a couple of tools. We’ve been making simple sushi rolls at home for a few years now but if you’ve never done it, you’ll want to get a few things to get you going. Not many tools, but a few – like a mat on which to roll the rolls and if you ask me, a rice cooker. I can’t tell you how much rice I’ve ruined before dropping $20 on the greatest invention ever. You also need a bowl of cold water to keep your hands wet. Sushi rice sticks to everything but wet hands and plastic wrap.

Panko-Crusted Alaska Roll

Rather than using my old trusty sushi rice recipe, I tried the recipe that the Pioneer Woman’s house-call-making chef used – it’s more like the rice that we get out so we’re making the permanent switch. And since the At-Home Alaska Roll got two thumbs up from The Foodie Groom, we might not be going out for sushi for a while.

Panko-Crusted Alaska Rolls

Sushi-house rolls at home, for a fraction of the cost!


  • For the sushi rice:
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 1/2 cup sushi vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • For the sushi rolls:
  • 3 Nori sheets, halved
  • 1/2 large avocado, pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 lb fresh salmon filet, skin removed and sliced into 1/4-inch strips*
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2-3 fresh Jalapenos, sliced (you need 1 slice per piece of sushi)
  • Eel sauce
  • Soy sauce, for serving
  • Wasabi, for serving
  • Pickled sushi ginger, for serving
  • Vegetable oil


To make the sushi rice
  1. Put sushi rice in a sieve and set the sieve in a larger bowl full of cold water in the sink. Using your hands, stir the rice to rinse it. Change the water in the bowl as it becomes cloudy. Continue to rinse the rice until the water remains clear. Drain the rice and place it in a rice cooker, using the manufacturer's measurements for the rice:water ratio.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine remaining ingredients and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature.
  3. Place the rice in a large bowl and pour over the vinegar mixture. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, covered with a damp cloth. Stir again to fluff and use slightly warm.
To make the sushi rolls:
  1. Pour enough vegetable oil into a pot to come about 2.5-3 inches up the side of the pot (you want to be able to submerge the entire roll). Heat the oil to 375.
  2. Cover a bamboo rolling mat with a couple layers of plastic wrap. Cut nori sheets in half crosswise. Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down, on the plastic covered mat. With wet hands, spread about 1/2-2/3 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori. Flip the sheet of nori over so that the rice side is down. Line the salmon and avocado strips in the center of the nori.
  3. Grab the edge of the mat closest to you, keeping the filling in place with your fingers, and roll forward, forming the roll into a tight cylinder, and pressing on the mat lightly to shape and secure. Pull away the mat and set the roll on a plastic wrap-covered plate. Cover with a damp cloth. Repeat until all of the rice has been used.
  4. Place the flour and panko in separate shallow dishes. Beat the egg and place in another shallow dish. Roll as many sushi rolls as will fit in your pan in the flour (brushing off the excess), in the egg, and then in the panko (pressing the crumbs lightly into the roll). Carefully slide the roll into the heated oil and fry for 30 seconds (this is just long enough to brown the panko, not overheat or cook the filling; I used two sets of tongs to get the rolls in and out of the pan). Drain on paper towel to wick away excess oil. Repeat for remaining rolls.
  5. Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into 6-8 slices. Top each slice with a bit of eel sauce and a slice of fresh jalapeno. Serve with soy sauce, prepared wasabi, and pickled ginger if desired.


Yields: 4-6 rolls

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride, rice adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Estimated time: 1 hour



Mongolian Beef

There are just some dishes I don’t think about making at home because there are plenty of times when going out is just plain worth it – especially considering someone else gets to do the dishes! Like sushi. While we do make sushi at home occasionally, I like that at a restaurant I can order a piece of this and a piece of that to try something new. If I don’t like it, it’s just one piece. Variety like that at home is hard to manage (for me, anyway).

Then there are times when my husband is scooping up a forkful of something and he’ll pause, look at me across the table, and say, “You know, we could totally make this at home.” Usually, he’s right. And I’d probably do it way more often if someone could hook me up with their clean-the-kitchen fairy. I can pay in chocolate cake or bottles of Port… take your pick!

This was good. This was really good. Very restaurant-esque, not terrible for you, cooked very quickly, and everyone cleaned their plates. It’s already on the menu again for next week!

Mongolian Beef

A DIY version of PF Chang's Mongolian Beef.


  • 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (measured, not packed)
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 large green onion, sliced thinly


  1. Pat steak slices dry and add to a bowl with corn starch. Toss to ensure all pieces are just coated. Shake off excess corn starch using a strainer.
  2. Heat 1 1/2 tsp oil in a large wok or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stir until fragrant.
  3. Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes.
  4. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl.
  5. Turn the heat to high and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides.
  6. Pour the sauce back into the wok and cook until the sauce reaches desired consistency.
  7. Add the green onions (a pinch reserved for garnish), stir, and remove from heat. Plate, top with remaining onions, and serve.


Yields: 2-4 servings

Adapted from PF Chang's and Pink Bites

Estimated time: 20 minutes




The potsticker is one of my husband’s favorite Asian dishes. There is only one restaurant on our regularly-considered list of dining establishments that serves potstickers – and unfortunately, since the Texas heat doesn’t exactly provide the ideal climate for the Money Tree to grow wild, it’s a bit pricey and hard to justify for a regular night out. No matter, it always comes up anyway: “You know, we could go to Kirin and get potstickers.” And then I shudder at the thought of $50 potstickers.

I recently started working on creating a couple of menus to help reduce our dining-out expenses and better control how much fat we consume when eating out. I started a “Take-out Fake-out” menu of our favorite Asian dishes to expand my nearly non-existent experience with Asian cuisines and a “Restaurant Redo” menu to copy-cat some of our favorite restaurant offerings. Both are in the very early stages of development but the goal is to add one new item to the menu each week.

In the spirit of Take-out Fake-out, I decided to throw in the towel and make potstickers myself. How hard could it be if I psyched myself up to think of ‘em as an Asian-filled ravioli? I perused a cooking forum (thanks, Klady) and a couple of recipe sites (Epicurios really does rock) and found out what the “green stuff” in the pork filling was and bought my first-ever head of Napa Cabbage.

Orange Sesame Dipping Sauce

The potstickers were very nicely flavored – perhaps a little too golden brown, but they tasted really similar to the ones we get when we eat at Kirin. Now when my husband craves potstickers, we can whip them up ourselves. The best part – it won’t cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney to enjoy!

1/2 lb ground pork
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup chives
2/3 cup green onions
1 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Wonton wrappers (about 30)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 recipe Orange Sesame dipping sauce, for serving (follows)

Cook the ground pork over medium heat until done*. Add the remaining ingredients (through garlic) and cook until the greens are wilted nicely. Let mixture cool just a bit and add it to the bowl of a food processor. Process the filling until it reaches the desired consistency.

Lay a wrapper on a flat, dry surface put a Tbsp of mixture in in the middle. Using your fingers or a pastry brush (save the dirty-dish sink space – use your fingers), wet the wonton wrapper surrounding the filling and fold the dumpling, pressing the seams together: bring two opposite corners to the center, bring the remaining corners to the center one at a time and press tightly.

Add oil to a skillet (a clean skillet) and add dumplings. Add 1/3 cup water to the pan and cover tightly. Remove from heat when the dumplings are golden brown on one side (about 4 minutes).

* I fear raw pork so I pre-cooked the filling. You can prepare the potstickers “raw” just be sure to adjust the cooking time.

Orange Sesame dipping sauce (measurements are approximate)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp chives
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice

Whisk together all ingredients, adjust seasoning to taste.